Finding $3 Trillion in Government Cuts

January/24/2011 16:58PM
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In an article in the Wall Street Journal dated 1-19-11, Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe found $3 trillion in cuts over the next ten years. It’s pretty wordy, so I will summarize without quotes.

If spending goes back to the 2007 baseline, it’s $374 billion. Privatizing Freddie and Fannie could save from $272 billion to as much as $863 billion. Eliminating ethanol subsidies: $170 billion. Scaling back government employees to 2008 levels is $35 billion. Scrapping the depts. of Commerce and HUD is $550 billion. Ending farm subsidies is $290 billion. Cutting the NASA budget in half is $90 billion. Repealing Davis-Bacon labor rules is $60 billion. Ending urban mass transit grants is $52 billion. Privatizing air traffic control, as other nations have done is $38 billion. Privatizing Amtrak is $31 billion. Reform employee retirements, $18 billion, eliminate Retire Ameri-corps, $10 billion, and shutter the Small Business Administration, $14 billion.

Use the Gates proposal for military spending will save $145 billion over 5 years. The rest of the numbers above were over 10 years. Follow Paul Ryan’s proposal on entitlements would save $370 billion a year by 2020.

By the authors’ calculations, this is $3 trillion over the next decade. Since the numbers are very difficult to put together, I will accept their math. I would add several cuts to their list. The Post Office goes. The DOE goes. The EPA is scaled way back. The income tax reform I would endorse would cut the IRS by several billions. Since government worker absenteeism is double the private sector, just getting high paid workers to show up for work would save several billions. Once one got started on the Federal bureaucracy, who knows where it would lead?

Putting work back to the states and truly reducing the size of Federal government could be the big savings. Just do the work the founding fathers chartered the Federal Government to do could really cut billions.

I will give the authors’ credit. At least someone had the fortitude to put some ideas and some numbers down for debate. It’s a much bigger step than the Republicans have dared to do over the past two years. Paul Ryan stands alone in that regard. The rest just bloviate about cutting the size of government. I don’t know about you but I’ve had all the bloviating and tears( Mr. Speaker) I can handle. Let’s get real.

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